15 Dec Best things to do in winter time in Budapest
The festive season is right here, even if the snow is late and the weather is not that freezing yet. Christmas attracts all Hungarians and make them change their usual habits to feel the warmth inside and celebrate the season. Sparkly lights are all around the streets, winter markets raise their heads everywhere, cinnamon and mulled wine smell floating around the squares. Here are some ideas how to get into the mood of winter in Budapest.
Visit a winter market
Winter market at Vörösmarty Square – photo: origo.hu
It’s the most obvious thing but don’t think only tourists do. The most famous winter market is on Vörösmarty Square every year, with an enormous Christmas tree at the middle. Nativity scene and small stalls with so many interesting things from the simple wooden children toys to designer jewellery, handmade soaps and cosmetics to interesting kitchenware, you can find anything for yourself or as a well-chosen Xmas present. There are also food stalls with the traditional dishes, a bit heavy but must try the stuffed cabbage stew, fish soup, or the poppy seed dumps.
Warm up with a mulled wine
Mulled wine – photo: budnight.hu
Probably you heard about this stereotype regarding Hungarians, if the temperature is getting lower than 10 degrees, mulled wine stalls appearing immediately from nowhere and we stampede to grab a cup. Usually it’s red, sometimes white, with all the festive spices like cinnamon, cloves, ginger, aniseeds, orange peel, bit of sugar and the rest is secret.
Relax at a spa
Veli bej thermal bath – photo: termalonline.hu
Budapest is famous for the old spas, such as the well-known Gellért or Széchényi spa, but there are much more. Even the Osmans enjoyed our thermal spas in the old days, like we still do. Try a less touristy place and get the same atmosphere; Király, Veli Bej and Lukács bath also have the prints of the centuries and amazing healing water. Let’s mention it, also less pricy than those famous spas.
Dance on the ice rink
Ice rink at City park (Városliget) – photo: mindennapino.hu
You can find a huge ice rink at Városliget (City park), designed by Ödön Lechner and opened at 1870. This beautiful building and the ice welcomes you all winter, with a nice restaurant, good drinks, sometimes even party, too. Perfect place for romance or having fun with friends, do some exercise or just slide round and round relaxed and enjoy the view of the park and the castle next to it.